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Vacant Texas museum property's sale disputed

Texas is being nationally recognized as a leader in growth and development in business and the commercial real estate market. The sale of commercial property can sometimes be a complicated process, particularly when there's a dispute between interested buyers.

Such a case is occurring with a commercial sale that has turned into real estate litigation between the state attorney general and interested buyers of San Antonio's old Texas Highway Patrol Museum. The large brick building has been vacant and in litigation for over a year after the attorney general sued its previous owners, a telemarketing company, for deceptive business practices. Now the attorney general's office has been granted an emergency motion to stop the sale to local real estate developers who had hoped to purchase the building.

The real estate broker and attorney in charge of the sale have been accused of ignoring the highest offer in favor of the real estate developers. The high bidder, the owner of a restaurant across the street from the old downtown museum, enlisted the attorney general's help to appeal a sale that they say was unfair.

However, the sellers, developers and judge who had approved the sale claim that there wasn't evidence of fraud in the purchase and that the restaurant owner had no solid reason to challenge the sale. The sellers weren't satisfied with the high bidder's conditions, which may have tied up the property for at least three more months.

The judge's decision implies that sellers have the right to sell to whom they choose, whether or not they are the highest bidder. However, in cases where there is a commercial real estate dispute, attorneys will likely need to get involved to sort out who has the legal right to purchase the property.

Source: San Antonio Express-News, "Texas attorney general appeals sale of Texas Highway Patrol Museum," John Tedesco, Feb. 8, 2013

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